Designers Dictionary

Feeling lost when speaking with your designer; like they are speaking another language? With any industry, there is a specific set of terms used. This article defines a handful of popular terms and puts them in context to help you understand the meaning.


Also known as letter spacing, tracking is the uniform amount of space between each character of a word, line, or block of text.

Example: The tracking is too tight and the letters are on top of each other. Let’s loosen it up so it feels lighter. 

Not to be confused with tracking, kerning is the adjustment of space between two individual letterforms or characters.

Example: The kerning needs to be fixed in that logo before you do anything else. 

Commonly known as line spacing, leading is the amount of space between lines of text.

Example: Let’s adjust the leading so the text is easier to read. 

This term, which is often misused, refers to the specific size and weight of a typeface.

Example: The font I’m using here is Georgia Regular 60pt. 

A family of fonts is known as a typeface. They often include several weights ranging from light to heavy.

Example: We chose this typeface because it has a lot of options and flexibility when designing. 

A symbol or mark that represents a business or organization.

Example: The Starbucks logo has evolved, yet has always remained recognizable. 

A brand is the culmination of all your marketing efforts, including your logo, color scheme and type, website, print, and online materials.

Example: The Coca-Cola brand is so famous—due to the iconic color, script font and the unique shape of the bottle—that even if they do not use their logo in an advertisement, the brand is still instantly recognizable.

Full Bleed
Full bleed simply means artwork extends to the very edge and there is no border.

Example: Let’s print this full-bleed so there isn’t a border.

A system for matching colors, used in specifying printing inks.

Example: Our brand color is Pantone 243 C.

Also known as process color or four color, CMYK refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).

Example: Are we printing this CMYK or using a Pantone?

The colors that are used on a computer or screen display are a combination of red, green, and blue.

Example: Is the file setup correctly with RGB values for the website?

Was there a term we missed? Let us know! We will add it to the list and help demystify the design world, one definition at a time.

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